I've got good news. That TV show you like is going to come back into style.
Well, that's not quite accurate. Twin Peaks has never really gone out of style. From capturing the world's attention with its Who Killed Laura Palmer? mystery (Queen Elizabeth 2 reportedly snubbed Paul McCartney to catch a new episode), to maintaining a cult status in the wake a half-baked second season and initially reviled (lately, deservedly, reappraised) prequel film, to now finding a new audience on Netflix, Twin Peaks has kept whatever incarnation of its audience ensorcelled since its debut in the spring of 1990. Fascination with David Lynch and Mark Frost's story of a Pacific Northwestern town full of dopplegängers, owls, wind-rocked traffic lights, and cherry pie will likely only increase with the release of a new spate of episodes in 2017.
Of course, part of the sustained love for Twin Peaks is due to the quirks of its denizens. But the Lynchian promise of that world is that such a layer of quirkiness amounts to a thin rime of ice covering a sea of darkness and chaos. The whodunnit that drove Twin Peaks' initial popularity was 'solved' long ago (pressured to the fore by ABC, much to chagrin of the creators), but the deeper mystery, the myths and machinations of a place beyond the veil (or the red curtain, if you like), still flirts outside the mind's grasp. Like some rumoured cryptid in local waters, it drifts close enough to the surface to imply a shape, but never fully breeches. The Secret History of Twin Peaks, attributed to series co-creator Mark Frost, makes some promise (or threat) of hauling that greater mystery ashore.
The Secret History is a reproduction of a bound dossier obtained by the FBI, annotated by the agent assigned by Deputy Director Gordon Cole (Lynch's character in the franchise) to determine its provenance. The history of region was compiled by a person who identifies themselves only as The Archivist, and consists of historic diary entires from the likes of Lewis and Clark, newspaper clippings, and, quite troublingly, classified government documents. As an object itself -- a replica of the dossier -- The Secret History amounts to a hypertext comparable, though not as involved as, Doug Dorst and JJ Abrams' unprecedented story within, amongst, and on top of a story, S. While squinting your way through period handwriting belonging to Thomas Jefferson and sorting through redacted FBI reports might at first seem daunting, the reader -- assisted by both The Archivist and the special agent, identified only as "TP" -- will quickly acclimate.
Without giving too much away, The Secret History of Twin Peaks makes room for just about every conspiracy theory in American history, implicating Twin Peaks as the drain down which the whole lot of it spirals.
Twin Peaks has become synonymous with David Lynch, shot through with his unmistakable hallmarks. Mark Frost's role is often underplayed, or outright ignored in favour of an auteur point of view. What made (and hopefully will still make) Twin Peaks such a satisfying project is the partnership between Lynch and Frost. A certainly simplified description of the duoship has Frost handling the structure and Lynch providing the chaotic -- or at least inarticulate -- dark dreams. But that division of labour bears out in The Secret History.
At the helm, Frost is a collector and organizer of the conspiracies that, like scabs, form around the greater mystery. The Secret History -- or the dossier -- is what it says it is, a history. It's a tally and collation. Its relation to the series is a thorough and nuanced backstory. In some ways, it's Frost's practical addition to the satisfyingly unsatisfying prequel that Lynch provided with Fire Walk With Me. What fans might have found lacking in Lynch's solo sally into the world of Twin Peaks is the absence of the order that Frost had provided. In the same way, what fans might find lacking in Frost's "novel" is absence of Lynch.
At one point in the iconic "red room" -- the nature of which is too complicated to sum up here -- a bird-shaped shadow passes over the iconic red velvet curtains. It's a suitable image to describe the way in which presences from a hidden world project onto ours. The Secret History of Twin Peaks is a fascinating and genuinely engaging collection of all the times such a shadow has passed over our world, but doesn't, or is unable to, describe the source of that shadow. Which is to say that it never spoils the inarticulate specialness of the Twin Peaks world. One of the joint joys and frustrations of the work of David Lynch is its nonadherence to describable logic. The impact of mysterious forces is palpable, and has consequences in the describable world, but the nature of those forces remain mysterious of Lynch himself, so can -- if you're game -- stay mysterious to you.